Care needed when around milkweed

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  • #13826

    Hi All

    I was working the other day in my garden around a milk weed plant and some morning due that was sitting on the leaf on the plant (not sap just a drop of water) flicked into my eye, the last few days my eye has been getting worse it is now very swallen, painfull and itchy.

    After consulting the doc she said its from the chemicals in the plant/sap in the mmilk weed plant that has affected my eye. I can only imagine what the pain would be like if I got actual white sap in my eye, this is bad enough!

    So care needed when working with milk weed, handeling if you get sap on fingers and rub eye same sort of effect.

    I can handle nettle stings but this is truly painfull.


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  • #36944


    Oh Kate – feeling for you. Wish I could do something for you.



    I have just spent most of the afternoon in Waikato Hospital as I appear to have lost (temporarily I hope!) most of the vision in one eye. Must have been sweating in the sticky Waikato heat and either sweat ran into eye, or I wiped it while cutting milkweed. I do this for an hour or so each day. It’s pretty scary, but at least I know from Stephen Smith’s and Angie’s experience (posted on here) that vision will probably come back.



    I came across the following warning at butterflyfunfacts.

    CAUTION! Milkweed sap is extremely painful in eyes. Wiping sweat from your forehead and sweat running over the traces of sap into your eyes often will result in a trip to the emergency room for pain relief. Use gloves and wash your hands throughly after handling milkweed, especially if you are cutting leaves or stems. Note that in the first photo, Stephen is wearing gloves to cut stems. He has visited the emergency room twice for pain relief.



    Oh Angie you poor thing. Dr gave me eye drops and now my eye is good.

    Yes Dr told me that’s what I had. I thought wow where did I get that from? Now I know. She did a swab test so be interesting to see what comes of this test.

    I need to be very careful now around the plants. Let me know how you go Angie.



    Hi, eye still very sore. Char, if you still have probs in a few days I would see the doc and tell them about the milkweed.

    Symptons are very similar to conjunctivitis, but chemical burns from the milkweed have caused corneal abrasions. Ouchy ouch! I am going back to doc tomorrow.




    Ha ha Robert I can assure you “NO PHOTO” will go up for this one, if this happens. LOL




    That’s not good to hear Angie, I hope you get over it soon.

    Charlotte will look great once her Useful Man (Al) has kitted her out, can’t wait for the photo.



    Very interesting Angie. As I have just had a case of conjunctivitis after working last weekend and early part of this week around my plants.

    I was trying to work out where I had got it from, as I have NEVER had this is in my life!!

    I collect the eggs by taking the whole leaf and may have rubbed my eye and got some in my eye. My eye was so red and swollen and itchy!!

    Will need to be careful around the plants now, so as a safety precaution Al is off to the shops to buy me a full face motorcycle helmet and a wetsuit to wear in the garden. LOL




    Ouch Angie! I know a lady here in Russell who just loves the monarchs and rearing them but she has had to give it up… she developed an allergic reaction to the milkweed sap… she tried gloves but even then she would get sap on her and she didn’t react nicely to it. Shame… and yet hubby says he used to put on his warts as a kid and it would get rid of them.



    I don’t have experience with the sap of of plants palatable to monarch caterpillars, but the copious white sap of Euphorbia spp produces a very severe conjuctivitis. Some Euphorbias are common weeds and others desirable garden plants. The common weed is small, pale yellow green with a pink stem and is probably present in every garden in the land

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